Molecular heterogeneity in the infantile and juvenile forms of Sandhoff disease (O-variant GM2 gangliosidosis).
There are two major beta-hexosaminidase, EC 220.127.116.11, isozymes in normal human tissues. They exist as active dimers of alpha- and/or beta-subunits. A defect of their beta-subunit results in Sandhoff disease (O-variant GM2 gangliosidosis), an inherited, clinically heterogeneous, lysosomal storage disease. The status of the HEXB gene, pre beta-polypeptide chain mRNA, and residual beta-hexosaminidase activities were examined in a clinically and ethnically diverse collection of 16 fibroblast cell lines from patients with Sandhoff disease. Differentiation of the two major clinical types, infantile and juvenile onset, could be made by the determination of the activity of the residual beta-hexosaminidase eluting in the same pH range as hexosaminidase A. All the juvenile lines were found to have normal or reduced levels of pre beta-chain mRNA and no gross abnormalities in the HEXB gene. Of the 11 infantile type cell lines examined, four were found to contain no detectable pre beta-chain mRNA. Two cell lines in this group contained partial gene deletions localized to the 5' end of the HEXB gene. One of these cell lines has previously been assigned to the single complementation group in Sandhoff disease, conclusively demonstrating that the primary gene defect in the majority of Sandhoff cases is in the HEXB gene itself. These data suggest that each clinical group is made up of a collection of different HEXB mutations.
O'Dowd, BF; Klavins, MH; Willard, HF; Gravel, R; Lowden, JA; Mahuran, DJ
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